A must on any Sri Lankan itinerary, the south western coast boasts the perfect mix of beach and culture along with offering ideal stops between the wilds of Yala. Hugging the coastline, common stops include Bentota, Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama and Mirissa.
Offering a good place to relax for a couple of days, Bentota boasts pristine beaches and is home to the Lunuganga Estate, the beautifully landscaped country home of the famed Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Undoubtedly a favourite stop is Galle. Although divided into two parts, its beating heart is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort. Standing since the early 16th century, this fortified city allows you to step back in time with bastions and ramparts overlooking the ocean. Within the fort a well-preserved colonial city awaits, Dutch period villas, churches and other Dutch period reminders stand along the low-rise streets. Take in the striking atmosphere and wander through the quaint streets, home to boutique villas, cafes and shops.
Beyond the fort a short drive away is Unawatuna Bay, a seaside village which offers a beautiful palm tree lined beach favourable for swimming and snorkelling. Popular amongst the surfers is the hotspot of Weligma, whilst excursions for dolphin and whale watching can be had at Mirissa, also famed for its long stretches of sandy beach and stunning sunset vistas.